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High-End Audio Industry News


10 / 30 / 09

The Essential John Carpenter  Looking for some 'killer' Halloween tunes? HDTracks has The Essential John Carpenter for high resolution digital download available right now. John Carpenter is known for his successful career as a horror and suspense film director, but much of the dramatic music heard in the films was also penned by Carpenter himself. This album features recordings of his own compositions - including the spine-chilling minimalist themes from the Halloween and Assault on Precinct 13, along with additional themes by other composers that were featured in Carpenter’s films. Track listing is as follows:

1 Escape From New York - Main Title (Mix 1) 
2 Halloween - Theme (Mix 1) 
3 Halloween - Haunted House 
4 Starman - End Titles 
5 Big Trouble In Little China - Pork Chop Express
6 The Fog 
7 Assault On Precinct 13 - Main Title 
8 Assault On Precinct 13 - Julie's Theme 
9 Christine - Bad To The Bone 
10 Halloween II - Main Title 
11 The Thing 
12 Dark Star 
13 They Live 
14 Prince Of Darkness 
15 Escape >From New York - Main Title (Mix 2) 
16 Halloween - Theme (Mix 2) 
17 Village Of The Damned 
18 Starman - End Titles

 

 

The BPI, established in 1973 and is the representative voice of the UK recorded music business with members consisting of the UK's four major record labels and hundreds of independent music companies, has reported that 2009 has already become the biggest ever year for UK singles with more than 117 million sold to date. Driven by a strong release schedule and a burgeoning range of online music services in the UK, new data from the Official Charts Company shows that sales of single tracks in 2009 have now surpassed the previous all-time record of 115.1 million, set in 2008. The total of 117 million has been reached with 10 weeks of trading, including the vital Christmas period, still to run in 2009. Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive said, "We've witnessed an astonishing transformation of the UK singles market during the last six years, with digital downloads rapidly overtaking sales of CD singles and cassettes to dominate the singles scene. Unlike the albums market which is overwhelmingly dominated by CD sales, the UK Top 40 is now almost entirely comprised of digital singles. During this year, 98.6 percent of all singles have been retailed in digital formats. More than 389.2 million single track downloads have now been sold in the UK since the launch of the first mainstream online stores in 2004.

 

10 / 29 / 09

dcs Paganini Upsampler  dcs, a British company dedicated to the design, engineering and manufacture of the best performing digital audio components possible, now offers their Paganini Upsampler ($10,499.) that is as close as possible in performance to the company's Scarlatti (($13,499) yet at a more accessible price. The Paganini range has a similar feature set to Scarlatti with the main differences being in the chassis, transport mechanism and the remote handset. These differences mean little is lost in the resulting musical performance and we think Paganini has a very special kind of magic. The patent pending Paganini Upsampler or digital-to-digital converter (DDC) converts digital audio data at one sample rate to a higher sample rate, providing listeners with higher levels of performance from any industry standard digital source, including PC/Mac and Media Servers. Upsampling to progressively higher sample rates, claims dcs, makes progressive improvements to fine detail, sound stage depth and image separation. This means the sound quality increases as you upsample CD data first to 24/88.2, then to 24/176.4, then to DSD. All of the Paganini products benefit from our ‘soft' approach to programmable logic, which allows new software to be loaded from a dCS update disc to add new features or adapt to changes in digital formats. The Paganini Upsampler's USB interface operates in "asynchronous" mode (NOT to be confused with asynchronous rate conversion), where the Upsampler synchronises the audio by providing a feedback pipe to the PC/Mac. The computer then is effectively locked to the Upsampler, which can have a much more accurate clock and much lower jitter.

 

10 / 28 / 09

Paradigm Special Edition Speakers  Paradigm just announced their Special Edition SE1 and SE3 loudspeakers, which consist of an elegant and powerful hybrid of the Paradigm and Paradigm Reference product lines. The Special Edition collection is said to embody the best of both worlds from Paradigm Electronics by combining elements from the affordable audiophile-quality Paradigm line and higher-end Paradigm Reference line. The SE series features the SE1, a bookshelf speaker, the SE3, a floorstanding model and the SE Center and SE Subwoofer, all outfitted with stylish real wood veneer cabinets. Paradigm Special Edition (SE) speakers, with soft edges, clean lines, state-of-the-art technology, compact dimensions and real wood veneer cabinets are a stepping stone to the world of high-end audio for budget conscious consumers. Like the Monitor Series, the SE line will boast Paradigm's SuperDrive technology, which combines very high efficiency with very high output and ultra-low distortion. Each driver represents a best of breed hybrid mix that includes high frequency drivers from the Paradigm Monitor Series and mineral-filled polypropylene bass/midrange drivers handed down right from the Paradigm Reference Studio Series. With a reasonable footprint, this collection provides real wood veneer finishes for customers seeking sophisticated appearance at a competitive price.

Specifications: 
SE 1 Bookshelf
Two-driver 2-way bookshelf/stand-mounted: 
5.5" M-ICP mid/bass, 1" H-PTD dome 
Estimated $299

SE 3 Floorstanding
Four-driver 2.5-way floorstanding: 
Two 5.5" carbon-infused polypropylene bass, 
5.5" M-ICP mid/bass,1" H-PTD dome 
Estimated $696

SE Center
Four-driver 3-way center channel 
Two 5.5" carbon-infused polypropylene bass, 
3.5" M-ICP midrange, 1" H-PTD dome 
Estimated $499

SE Subwoofer
Bass Reflex Single Driver Design 
10" Driver with CAP Carbon / Aramid Fiber Polypropylene Cone 
900 watts Dynamic Peak / 300 watts RMS Sustained 
Paradigm's Proprietary Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Design 
Comprehensive Range of Input and Control Facilities 
USB Port for use with Paradigm's Perfect Bass Kit (PBK) Room Correction 
Estimated $699

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
The folks at InnerSound claim conventional amplifiers have serious problems when forced to drive electrostatic loudspeakers. Since InnerSound manufacturers electrostatic speakers they have decided to make the world's first amplifier specifically for electrostatics. According to their website "A capacitor stores an amplifier's electrical energy instead of dissipating it as heat, therefore, an ESL doesn't actually use power like magnetic speakers. ESLs are sometimes called "wattless" speakers because of this. But their behavior is highly reactive, which means that they send the electrical current back to the amplifier when the musical signal reverses polarity. Amplifiers tend to be unstable with reactive loads.... In a capacitor, the impedance is inversely proportional to frequency. So an ESL will have a high impedance at low frequencies, and a very low impedance at high frequencies typically 2 Ohms or lower." By using a large output stage of capable of delivering a claimed 135 Amperes of current with a combined power rating of 4500 watts per channel, their new unit should easily drive the needs of most ESL speakers. The amplifier itself uses precision metal film with 1% tolerance, the connectors are gold plated while both balanced and unbalanced connectors are standard. The suggested retail price is set at $2995.

 

10 / 27 / 09

Muddy Waters The Lost Tapes  HDtracks, an online music store that provides true high-resolution music, now offers Muddy Waters' The Lost Tapes for high resolution digital music download. These recently discovered performances showcase a true blues legend at the height of his powers. The songs are culled from two live appearances in 1971 by Muddy with a heavyweight ensemble of back up musicians. Without a doubt this i a must-have for the blues lover and of course Muddy Waters enthusiasts! The track listing includes:

1 Honey Bee
2 Hoochie Coochie Man 
3 Walking Thru The Park 
4 Trouble No More 
5 Just To Be With You 
6 She's 19 Years Old [intro] 
7 She's 19 Years Old 
8 Long Distance Call 
9 Mannish Boy 
10 Crawlin' Kingsnake 
11 Got My Mojo Working

 

TACET Beethoven On Vinyl TACET has many new releases including the Auryn Series XXIV with Auryn's Haydn: op. 50, String Quartets · Vol. 7 of 14 op. 50, nos 1 - 6 as a two CD set. Also available is a new DVD-Audio with Auryn's Haydn op. 33 in TACET Real Surround Sound. This week the DVD-Audio with Beethoven Symphonies nos. 5 & 6 (DVD-A D164, also on SACD S164) is said to rank "among the first" of a truly illustrious collection of famous recordings. This brings us to the third new October release of Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 6 in F major, "Pastorale" op. 68 by the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra. This is a 180 gram vinyl LP release and naturally produced in tube only, without any semiconductor in the signal chain. TACET offers many other classical music titles that are available on CD, vinyl LP, SACD and DVD-Audio.

 

10 / 26 / 09

RMAF 2009 (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest)  Enjoy the Music.com has yet again updated our our sixth annual RMAF 2009 show report with event coverage by Tom Lathrop. His extensive over 4,300 word report in not to be missed! Within his report he says, "I attended an interesting presentation in the Nordost room by Roy Gregory... they've been doing for the past year, trying to come up with a way to measure the effects that cables, power conditioners, and vibration isolation can make in an audio system.... This is very much a work in progress, but it seems to be the first objective evidence that power cables, power conditioning, and vibration isolation can make a measurable difference in audio equipment. Hopefully it will lead to a better understanding of the causes of these differences, and better ways to measure those differences." Read Tom's complete RMAF report by clicking here.

 

Hi-Fi WorldEnjoy the Music.com has a world premiere of Hi-Fi World's Volume 19 Number 10 (December 2009) including the compete editorial and table of contents. This issue features reviews of the B&W CM9, Digital Do Main B-1a Japanese power amplifier, Musical Fidelity AMS35i pure Class A integrated amplifier, Brennan JB7 plug and play hard disk based music system, Harman Kardon HD990/HK990 digital disc spinner and integrated amplifier...

 

10 / 23 / 09

The Absolute Sound  Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the November 2009 edition of The Absolute Sound (Issue 197) featuring the complete table of contents and editorial! This edition features their high-end audio buyers’ guide, with mini-reviews of top picks in every category and every price. Other articles include Fourteen Ways to Improve Your System, A Music Lover's Guide to Computer-Based Music, a Guide to Better Bass and much more! Within this issue's editorial by Robert Harley titled An Embarrassment Of Riches he writes "Getting back to the value of today's gear, high-end-product designers have made enormous strides in discovering circuits, parts, and techniques for delivering great sound at lower prices. The modern high-end audio industry really came into its own in the 1970s, having evolved from the "hi-fi movement" of the 50s and 60s. Consequently, many of today's great designers have been refining their craft for several decades." You can see the table of contents and read the complete editorial by clicking here.

 

University of CalypsoTelarc's label Heads Up has released University of Calypso that is filled with wonderful sound and great music. Steel pan master Andy Narell joins forces with guitarist/singer Relator to explore the role of jazz in vintage calypso. It has been over 50 years since a major calypsonian went into the studio with a group of jazz players (featuring special guest Paquito D'Rivera). Andy Narell has been playing calypso music from Trinidad since he was barely tall enough to reach the pan! Now, with the release of University of Calypso Narell joins forces with calypso legend Relator to explore the role of jazz in vintage calypso. The track listening is as follows:

1. Gavaskar
2. Love in the Cemetery
3. Food Prices
4. Pan in Harmony
5. Eating Competition
6. Steel Band Music 
7. My Pussin
8. Sugar For Pan
9. Hold Onto Your Man
10. Peddlars
11. Bottle and Spoon
12. Take Yuh Meat Out Meh Rice
13. Pan On Sesame Street
14. Ugly Woman
15. My Brother Your Sister

 

10 / 22 / 09

DIY Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's Fall edition of our 2009 DIY Audio Magazine is now available! Within this edition we feature:

Repairing Damaged Speakers / Drivers
Article By Jeff Poth

Merrill DCA 4 And The Zigmahornet
Article By Jeff Poth

Xenover Ver. 2.0
Article By Grey Rollins

DIY Room Treatment Devices
Article By Bob Jackson (aka Bob In St. Louis)

MONOphono Preamplifier
Article By Diego Nardi, Audio Note Italia

A Homebrew Horn For Dual Concentric Loudspeakers
Article By Roy Hilsley

The Feral Eye 2A3 Amplifier
Article By Herb Reichert
Schematic By New York Triode Mafia

 

See the Spring 2009 edition of the DIY Magazine by clicking here.

 

 

Enjoy the Music.com On my.MSN.comEnjoy the Music.com's daily Industry News updates are now available on my.MSN.com. Users of the highly popular MSN page can add Enjoy the Music.com's daily high-end audio Industry News to their content preferences. Reaching tens of millions of viewers each month, my.MSN.com provides a variety for information to consumers on a daily basis. With well over a decade of developing innovations, Enjoy the Music.com has a longstanding history of enabling our content to reach the widest possible audience. These innovations over the years include, but are not limited to, push-pull content to the desktop, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), custom bookmark graphic for browsers and iPhone users, plus the recently released V10 of our longstanding Internet high-end audiophile browser. Users of my.MSN.com will be updated each day with important high-end consumer audio industry news and events. In addition, they can easily click on the appropriate link to ascertain additional information on each topic featured. "As the only audiophile magazine to offer such diverse availability of content, today marks an important achievement in furthering the accessibility of high-end consumer electronics information to consumers all around the world," said Steven R. Rochlin, editor of Enjoy the Music.com. "Once again the internationally critically acclaimed Web site Enjoy the Music.com is here to assist our readership in choosing the best product that fits their needs. We are continually expanding our information-based Web site and now provide over 120 show reports from around the world plus hundreds of equipment and music reviews combined within our Superior Audio, DIY, and Review Magazine. Enjoy the Music.com is the Internet's largest Web site for independent high-performance audio information, news, and worldwide show reports." You can easily learn how to add Enjoy the Music.com to your my.MSN.com page by clicking here.

 

10 / 21 / 09

Role Audio  Role Audio just introduced environmentally friendly 'green' options for all its loudspeakers. These environmentally and health friendly models are formaldehyde free and over the long term Role Audio plans to replace all standard loudspeakers with formaldehyde free eco-friendly models. Formaldehyde, which is used to manufacture most plywoods and medium density fiberboards (MDFs), is an allergen and a carcinogen. It is a volatile organic compound (VOC) which vaporizes under normal conditions into the environment. As there may be a growing concern for consumers who want healthy products in their homes and in their working and leisure environments, Role Audio is meeting these needs accordingly. The new speakers are assembled with non toxic glues and finished water borne coatings that are certified by the Greenguard Environmental institute. The grills are manufactured from formaldehyde free MDF, non-toxic glues and nylon fabrics. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Role Audio Sampan loudspeakers (click here), their Enterprise loudspeakers (click here) and NSM15EXP subwoofer (click here).

 

Bassocontinuo Audio Systems APOGEOItalian equipment support manufacturer Bassocontinuo Audio Systems just launched their APOGEO (5650€). Born as evolution of their Regale, their new model is now the company's reference product. This is said to be an audio table conceived not for every customer, but only for those are looking for a best performance and a complete customization. APOGEO is produced following the needs of the customer that can choose the heights between the shelves and the finishes. Besides the typical piano lacquering, they may propose a new special mother of pearl lacquering available in every RAL color. The size of the shelves has been increased as compared to pervious models yet maintain the same proportions. The metal structure is 60 mm diameter stainless steel AISI 303. The upper "sandwich structure" shelf, specially suitable for sources, are decoupled by nitrile elastomer. The base disk used for APOGEO are derived from the proven B-1; by an included table the customer can obtain the best decoupling depending on the weight. The weight of the system is around 280 lbs. Each APOGEO are embellished by a little metallic tag with the owner's name.

 

10 / 20 / 09

RMAF 2009 (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest)  Enjoy the Music.com has once again updated our our sixth annual RMAF 2009 show report with event coverage by Wayne Donnelly. Within his report he says, "Another big ballroom contained the $68,000 Acapella High Violon Mk IV speakers, driven by Einstein tube electronics, with Stage III and Acapella cables, Isoclean power conditioning and numerous isolation/footer products from the Aaudio Imports catalog. Brian Ackerman sent me the full listing, which adds up to well north of $200,000 for all the equipment in the room. A bit rich for my blood, but an impressive sound." Read Wayne's complete RMAF report by clicking here.

 

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), a trade association promoting growth in the $172 billion United States consumer electronics industry with more than 2,000 companies as members, this holiday season there will be more spending on electronics as holiday gifts. The 16th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study was just released and it says there will be approximately a four percent increase over last year's figures. "Pent up demand for technology products is evident in consumers' gift wish lists and holiday CE purchase plans," said CEA director of industry analysis Steve Koenig. "Some twenty percent of consumers say they plan to spend more on gifts compared to last year, with electronics leading the way."

 

10 / 19 / 09

United States Senate  The United States Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the controversial Performance Rights Act (S. 379), as sponsored by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, that if it becomes a law will finally level the playing field. As Internet and satellite radio stations have to pay for the music they provide, terrestrial broadcasters have had a free ride for decades. S. 379 levels this playing field by ensuring that AM/FM stations will also have to pay a performance fee on music played over the airwaves. The United States House has already approved H.R. 848 which is very similar. This new Performance Rights Act amends federal copyright law to:

(1) Grant performers of sound recordings equal rights to compensation from terrestrial broadcasters; and

(2) Modify the circumstances under which the public performance of a sound recording is subject to statutory licensing. Establishes a flat annual fee in lieu of payment of royalties for individual terrestrial broadcast stations with gross revenues of less than $1.25 million and for noncommercial, public broadcast stations. 

Grants:
(1) An exemption from royalty payments for broadcasts of religious services and for incidental uses of musical sound recordings; and

(2) Terrestrial broadcast stations that make limited feature uses of sound recordings a per program license option. Prohibits anything in this Act from adversely affecting the public performance rights or royalties payable to songwriters or copyright owners of musical works.

 

Sennheiser HD 448Sennheiser has expanded their line of portable HD headphone with full-sized portable HD headphones that include the HD 428, HD 438 and HD 448 ($100, $120 and $130 respectively). Optimized for portable players yet also deliver strong audio performance on home hi-fi systems, the top-of-the-range HD 448 model features an elegant retro design. Metallic trim elements with an embossed Sennheiser logo add a luxurious touch. Five high-gloss metallic "wheel spokes" adorn the ear cups of the HD 438, which are reminiscent of the alloy wheels on luxury sports cars. On the HD 428, a dark rubber coating provides a rugged, sporty design. The HD 428 is more focused on the lower frequencies and delivers powerful bass response. All models have a closed-back, around-the-ear design that provides sound isolation. All models also have single-sided cable to allow for freedom of movement and uncomplicated handling. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Sennheiser HD600 with Stefan AudioArt Equinox cable (click here) and their CX 500 in-ear headphones (click here).

 

10 / 16 / 09

RMAF 2009 (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest)  Enjoy the Music.com has updated our sixth annual RMAF 2009 show report with part 1 by Scott Faller that spans three page filled with many photos from the show. Part 2 will be coming shortly and we expect yet another reporter chiming in soon so check our RMAF 2009 page often to see the updates. For those who want to enjoy the well over 120 show reports we currently have online, the largest on the Internet, simply click here to access them all.

 

Boston Acoustics 2.4GHz WT 50 Wireless TransmitterBoston Acoustics, founded 30 years ago as a high-performance loudspeaker manufacturer, has launched their CPS 8Wi, 10Wi and 12Wi subwoofers ($400, $500 and $600 respectively) work in conjunction with Boston Acoustics' new 2.4GHz WT 50 wireless transmitter ($80, pictured here). All three subwoofers are available in either Black Walnut or Cherry vinyl finish and when used with the WT 50 each subwoofer's built-in digital wireless receiver provide ease of placement without signal wire clutter. Each subwoofer comes with both speaker wire and line-level via RCA jacks inputs for further flexibility in setup. All three feature volume control, phase switch and LFE input. These controls provide maximum flexibility and the ability to fine-tune performance to suit the user's taste and room acoustics. The front-firing, front-ported design also makes these Boston Acoustic subwoofers well suited for custom cabinet installation. Frequency responses for the CPS 8wi is 31Hz to 150Hz via an 8-inch driver while the top-of-the-range CPS 12Wi with 12-inch driver produces sound from 25Hz to 150Hz.

 

10 / 15 / 09

Review Magazine   Enjoy the Music.com's October midmonth update of our Review Magazine is now online and includes three informative articles plus two show report updates.

Letters: You write 'em and we reply.

Boston Audio Society Speaker
The Mechanism Of CD Rot
Article By Mark P. Fishman

Sound Practices
Fear Of Frying...
Or how I learned to stop worrying and love my home audio system.
Article By Joyce

VALVE Magazine
Triophoni -- Triode Triumph
Article By Dan Schmalle 

Show Report
RMAF 2009
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest Show Event Coverage

Show Report
Taiwan International Hi-End Audio Show 2009
Coverage By Wong Kok Chieat

See the October 2009 midmonth Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

Denon network-enabled iPod dock ASD-51WDenon Electronics, a longstanding manufacturers of high-quality home entertainment components, announced their two new network-enabled iPod docks models ASD-51W and ASD-51N ($299 as shown and $249 respectively). Both units work with Apple's iPod command and control, as well as a host of new capabilities and features. Building on the capabilities and benefits of Denon's predecessor ASD-3N/W models, the ASD-51N and ASD-51W adds new features that give users an even greater level of network connectivity to many A/V components, including A/V receivers, video display products and single speaker solutions. Users can stream audio files, pictures, Internet radio stations and more through the connected devices plus both new devices let users stream music from Internet Radio sources as well as provide connection to Rhapsody and Napster music services and other network attached storage devices. Both new Denon units also recharge the iPod while in dock. The Denon ASD-51N is Wi-Fi enabled while the ASD-51W is a wired version via Ethernet, and both allow the replay of WMA, MP3, WAV, FLAC, and unprotected AAC files. Outputs include RCA stereo audio, S-video and coaxial digital. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Denon's 2900 combination player (click here), the Denon DVD-5900 universal player with Underwood/Parts ConneXion Level 2 mods (click here) and the Denon Professional DN-C640 network CD player (click here).

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
Those super Formula 1 high precision dude at Sound Alignment Systems by Checkpoint just introduced their LG-120 adjustable laser line generator. To give a truly professional system/speaker setup to high precision, the new the LG-120 creates a laser line angle from 15° to 120° giving the exact dispersion angle of the speaker for visual reference in acoustical and sonic work. The LG-120 can be used in concert with their point laser alignment system to give the most highly precise equipment positioning available today. "The LG-120 provides sound contractors with a single laser alignment source designed to allow the accurate positioning of speakers relative to their own unique sonic dispersion characteristic", said Jim Webb, founder and designer of Sound Alignment Systems. "For the first time a technician can visualize for the client where a speaker's sonic signature will be". Webb continues, " for example, if a speaker's dispersion specification is 40°, simply adjust the Line Generator to the 40° mark and that exact angle line will be visualized enabling the speaker to be placed precisely where its optimum coverage and performance will be realized. In addition any acoustical treatments that may be seen or created for any condition are now visible. It's that simple."  SA-S offers contractor certification, layout plot sheets and angle guides to facilitate accurate and repeatable installations. Enjoy The Music.com's Steven R. Rochlin uses the SA-S system to ensure precise system alignment as he reviewed this system, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

10 / 14 / 09

RMAF 2009 (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest)  Enjoy the Music.com has updated our sixth annual RMAF 2009 show report and coverage of the Taiwan International Hi-End Audio Show 2009! The RMAF 2009 event continues to grow in popularity with each passing year and this year features over 160 rooms that will represent in total approximately 300 brands of high-end audio. On the other side of the world our reporter Won Kok Chieat is an avid reader of Taiwan audio magazines for years. There is a very fascinating and thriving audio scene in Taiwan. Enjoy the Music.com now has the final part of his excellent show coverage online! For those who may want to see the well over 120 show report we currently have online, simply click here to access them all.

 

HeadRoomPopular portable audio and headphone retail site HeadRoom has launched their entirely new website. Both experienced audiophiles and those new to personal listening may now enjoy the addition of many new products and categories, even more expert information about choosing the best personal audio equipment available, and a greatly enhanced online shopping experience. The company sought to strike a balance of having customers still recognize HeadRoom; being e-commerce friendly and inviting to anyone who comes to our site and wants to buy personal audio gear; and, still appealing to enthusiasts who want to sink their teeth into some beefy technical commentary. Headroom is also launching a new blog called "Right Between Your Ears" that features founder Tyll Hertsens. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Headroom bi-amped Audiophile Desktop Package (click here) and the HeadRoom Micro Headphone DAC and Amplifier combo (click here).

 

10 / 13 / 09

Sonos S5  Sonos, a leading developer of wireless multi-room music systems for the home, has introduced their S5 ($399) wireless Wi-Fi (or wired via Ethernet) stereo all-in-one wireless music system. The S5 includes iPod input and headphone output plus build-in speakers and amplifiers and it can be controlled with an iPhone, iPod touch or any Sonos Controller. Music enthusiasts can find and play any song from an iTunes library, a world of music via radio on the Internet or music files on their computer or NAS drive. The S5 includes a five-driver speaker system that consists of two tweeters, two midrange drivers and a subwoofer that is said to pack a big sound capable of filling an entire room with music. Sonos uniquely designed the S5 with an all-digital sound architecture for precise sound reproduction. All filter settings, bass and treble controls, active equalization, and time-alignment are done in the digital domain through state-of-the-art DSP circuitry. Enjoy the Music.com has recently awarded Sonos their prestigious Blue Note Award and our review can be seen by clicking here.

 

Chord Electronics Red Reference Mk II CD Player Chord Electronics' new flagship Red Reference Mk II CD player ($24,900) has the latest technological updates and has been revised with developments to improve performance over their previous offerings. The RED utilizes what the company is touting as "ground breaking technology to give the most accurate reproduction of compact disc that can be obtained". With internal 176.4 kHz upsampling data transfer, selectable RAM buffer clock retiming and both 1024 and 4096 tap length filtering, the RED earns its reference status in the Chord range. Starting on the outside, the RED features the Chord trademark design and is manufactured from solid aluminum giving a rigid support structure for the CD mechanism. The Mk II version now includes a lens in the CD dome giving a view of the loaded disc. The front panel design incorporates ball bearing push button control for the commonly used functions and a dual display showing CD status on one side and input, buffer and frequency information on the other. Uniquely, the CD mechanism sits at 45 degrees to allow front access even if placed on a stand or in a rack. Access to the CD is at the touch of a button operating a solenoid controlled fluid damped door. At the rear connections are made via gold plated phono or BNC coax, plastic optical fiber or balanced XLR style connectors. Internally the latest CD Pro 2 mechanism from Philips is re-clocked using a highly accurate crystal oscillator then the synchronized data is fed to the upsampling and filtering electronics. In the Mk II an 18,000 tap length WTA filter, (upgraded from the original 4096), is used to minimize the transient timing errors and reconstruct the digital data to either 44.1, 88.2 or 176.4 KHz sampling frequencies. This data is fed to the rear XLR and optical output connectors and also via a dual data bus to the digital to analogue conversion electronics. Now based on the QBD76, (originally DAC64), the digital signal is converted from 176.4kHz to analogue audio using 18,000 tap filtering and 76 bit digital signal processing core. This is followed by 64th bit 7th order noise shaping, 2048 times oversampling rates and improved pulse width modulated elements. This gives much better measured performance. better detail resolution with a smoother more focused sound quality. The DAC also features RAM buffer technology that sequentially takes in all the data, re-times it, then sends it out giving jitter free operation. Digital data from other sources can also be fed into the RED via the optical or AES balanced XLR connections. All of the above innovations are implemented in Field Programmable Gate Arrays that can be reprogrammed by simply changing the EPROM memory chip, thus future proofing is assured. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Chord Electronics QBD76 DAC, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

10 / 12 / 09

Pass Labs SR1 Loudspeaker  Legendary audio manufacturer Pass Labs now offers their SR1 loudspeaker in original Cherry finish ($25,000/pr) or new finishes that include Madrone Burl and natural Black Ash ($28,000/pr). The SR1 is Pass Labs' second loudspeaker, following and replacing the Rushmore. The SR1 is a four-way floorstanding system consisting of four independently adjustable amplification packages plus a four-way active electronic crossover integrated with four highly efficient loudspeaker drivers. Like the Rushmore, the SR1 leverages the ability of dedicated, active electronics to enhance and complement the performance of its passive components. More than the Rushmore, the SR1 emphasizes absolute audio performance over driver sensitivity and provides enhanced flexibility in selecting complementary power amplifiers and crossovers, which can range from totally passive to active quad-amplification. The SR1 has been designed to harness the classic "mass controlled piston" model in which the speaker's radiating surface behaves as a rigid surface. This is claimed to yield a well-defined characteristic in the spectral region where the sound is proportional to the electrical current through the voice coil. At the boundaries of this frequency band, the response falls off in a predictable manner. The SR1's drivers are said to be the very best available — Nextel-coated cones and a Crescendo tweeter from the renowned Seas of Norway. They present a combination of low distortion, high dynamics and predictable performance. Finally, the SR1 uses dual enclosures, with a large bass enclosure with ten-inch and eight-inch drivers to handle the bottom four octaves and an adjustable smaller enclosure that produces the midrange and uppermost frequencies. The impedance does not fall below 4 Ohms and the sensitivity is approximately 90dB/W/m. Enjoy the Music.com has reviews various Pass Labs products including their Aleph X2.5 stereo preamplifier (click here), the Supersymmetry balanced single-ended Class-A X250 stereo amplifier (click here) and Nelson Pass' First Watt Model F1 current drive power amplifier (click here).

 

Hagerman Audio Labs Chime USB tube DACHagerman Audio Labs is re-issuing their popular Cornet2 tube phonostage and Chime USB tube DAC in upgraded "Silver Edition" fashion with improved components ($1199 and $1999 respectively). Also new from HAL is a little device for burning in power cords called the FryCorder ($199). This plug-and-play standalone box is said to breaks in audiophile power cord and all the the house wiring it is attached too! The Hagermand Audio Chime USB DAC (pictured here) is optimized for Redbook CD playback and has USB input and standard RCA stereo pair analog outputs plus detachable power cord. This unit can only lock onto 16-bit/44.1kHz data and all circuitry is optimized to operate on this one specific task. The USB decoder section is galvanically isolated from the rest of the audio system, thereby eliminating problematic ground loops and the introduction of computer electrical noise. Internally, a daughter card performs the complex digital conversion, first by synchronously upsampling the data and filtering to 24 bits at 352.8ksps and then feeding to the expensive PCM1704K 24 bit converters. A low jitter VCXO-based PLL circuit regenerates the output clock, for spurious-free tonal reconstruction. The output of these is fed to a custom low impedance analog filter and then to a high gain Class A vacuum tube circuit. The output is a constant-current cathode follower. The tube stages employ zero feedback featuring high linearity and DC heaters. Vacuum tube rectification for high voltage provides a soft-start without the need for muting circuits. Clock jitter is less than 10ps, analog frequency response is from 10 Hz to 100 kHz and tube compliment is a 12AX7, 12AU7 and 5AR4. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Hagerman Audio Technology UFO strobeclamp (click here), standard Chime USB DAC (click here) and Hagerman Piccolo MC headamp (click here).

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
Net AidThe Internet had another record broken as Saturday's webcast of the NetAid concerts streamed audio/video to 2,385,455 people! The concert was partially sponsored by Cisco Systems, makers of hardware that build the internet infrastructure. "Cisco is always looking for ways to showcase the power of the Internet," explained company spokesperson Mojan Khalili. "In this case, we harnessed that power for a social cause -- ending world poverty." NetAid consisted of three overlapping concerts held in Giants Stadium in New Jersey, Wembley Stadium in London and the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. These concerts were streamed live over the Internet to raise money to curb hunger and poverty around the world. It is still estimated that one billion people exist on less than one dollar a day.

 

10 / 09 / 09

HDtracks ECM  Online music service HDTracks is featuring recording label ECM this week. Founded in Munich by producer Manfred Eicher in 1969, ECM Records has recorded more than 1000 albums spanning many idioms. The quality of ECM albums at all levels -- from musicianship, production and engineering to cover art -- has been widely recognized and the label has collected many awards. Eicher's label has been hailed, by UK newspaper The Independent, as "the most important imprint in the world for jazz and new music." ECM artists include Keith Jarrett, Arvo Part, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Pat Metheney, and many more. HDtracks features high-resolution 24-bit/96kHz music downloads and is right now having a 20% off sale on various titles including Modern Cool by Patricia Barber ($9.58), The Persuasions Sing the Beatles by The Persuasions ($9.58) and The Elusive Light And Sound Vol. 1 by Steve Vai ($9.58) to name a few.

 

TACET Frédéric ChopinRecording label TACET has two new releases that feature some great classical music. Within the Auryn Series XVII is Auryn's Haydn: op. 1, String Quartets Vol. 1 of 14 op. 1, No. 1 to 6 performed by the Auryn Quartet. This DVD-Audio recording of the complete Auryn's Haydn cycle should please many audiophiles. Also new by TACET is The Koroliov Vol. XI by Frédéric Chopin performed by pianist Evgeni Korloliov. This CD is said to be capable of "drawing in the listener away from the daily din and hubbub into an oasis of peace and pleasant reflection. Without any cheap effects, Koroliov with his honesty manages to reawaken forgotten or misused feelings such as melancholy or tenderness. His presentations are trustworthy and honest." TACET offers many other classical music titles that are available on CD, vinyl LP, SACD and DVD-Audio.

 

10 / 08 / 09

M2TECH hiFace  Italian company M2TECH now sells their hiFace that plugs into a USB 2.0 port and converts the audio to S/PDIF at up to 24/192 and works with both the PC and MAC. The hiFace features a very compact size, internal very low jitter oscillators and proprietary drivers allow for USB to S/PDIF conversion to high resolution audio stream. The company claims that "Most audio interfaces and USB-provided DACs refer the data stream clock to the same USB interface clock, that often suffers a very heavy jitter (short range oscillator frequency variations). Thanks to two quartz precision oscillators used on M2Tech hiFace, clock source for output data stream features a very low jitter. A more stable clock is recovered by DAC S/PDIF receiver; a low jitter produces a very limited sound image distortion and degradation. Phase noise (main responsible for jitter) is also very low: this guarantees a short and long range clock stability, also reinforced by a board supply voltage regulation (e.g. at environmental temperature stability is 2-5ppm approximately, compared to 50 to 100 ppm performed by oscillators normally used on commercial CD players)." The hiFace uses proprietary drivers to allow for transferring audio data and maintaining the original file quality without any loss of resolution quality. When hiFace is used together with a player application such as FooBar (available for free on Internet), you can transfer S/PDIF stream music files to a D/A converter at 192kHz/24bits, thus avoiding undesired PC or MAC audio mixer data processing during the data transfer from hard disk to interface. The unit handles sampling rates of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192 kHz from 16 up to 24 bits.

 

AKG Perception 120 USB MicrophoneAKG's, a company with over 60 years of manufacturing audio equipment for professionals, has presented their Perception 120 USB microphone. The Perception 120 USB is the very first USB-equipped microphone from AKG, offering studio-quality sound performance without requiring any installation or drivers. It is capable of working with Windows XP/Vista/7 and Mac OS X. It is one of the only USB microphones with an integrated high-quality analogue-to-digital converter (24-bit at 128x oversampling) for high-end sound quality. The Perception 120 includes a o.66-inch condenser capsule with a low-mass diaphragm that is claimed to deliver accurate sonic details plus has an integrated pop filter. A switchable bass cut filter and an attenuation switch are also part of this design. The Perception comes complete with everything needed including a tripod table stand, a swivel mount and an USB cable.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
B&W LM 1Add beauty to your home with the new B&W LM 1 series speakers ($350 pr.). These small minimonitors include color-matching stands to add visual flair and style. Coming on two-tone colors like black, pearl white, silver, burgundy red and turquoise (seen right), these speakers are very easy on the eyes. As for easy on the ears, the LM 1 benefits from B&W's long history of speaker manufacturing. A special polystyrene 1-inch tweeter delivers the upper frequencies while the 5-inch mid/bass  driver is a reinforced polypropylene design. Sensitivity is clamed at 91dB/W/m at 8 Ohms impedance, which is very high for such a small design. Frequency response is claimed as 75 Hz to 20 kHz (+-3dB on reference axis).

 

10 / 07 / 09

  The new Coincident Statement Phono Preamplifier ($5499) is a high gain, all tube unit employing a high quality MC step up transformers to accommodate virtually all moving coil cartridges. Due to employing only two all tube gain stages, high gain is achieved with low noise. The RIAA curve is passive, zero feedback utilizing the closest tolerance resistors and polystyrene capacitors to obtain accuracy of less than 0.1 dB deviation from 10 Hz to 20 kHz. With 66 dB overall gain coupled with low output impedance, the use of an audiophile quality discrete resistor volume pots allows the Coincident Statement Phono Preamplifier to be directly connected to an amplifier without the use of a line stage. All internal wiring is point to point, thus eliminating the use of circuit boards. The keep noise away from the analog stage, a very large capacity 40 lbs. separate power supply ensures the analog stage has enough power and energy storage that is so strong it can power a 100 watt amplifier. There are separate transformers for the high voltage and low filaments. Furthermore, the high and low voltage sections have independent choke and large capacity filtering. Output impedance is 250 Ohms, maximum output is 30 Volts, the analog stage weighs 21 lbs and dimensions are 73 x 260 x 390 (HxWxD in mm).

Coincident Statement Line StageAlso new from Coincident is their Statement Line Stage ($4999) that has the input signal traveling from the transformer based mono volume pots to the transformer input and then to the 101D tubes for gain and lastly out through the output transformer. The 101D tubes are directly heated triodes that are said to be one of the most linear amplifying devices ever invented. There are no circuit boards as the entire unit is hard wired point to point. There are no capacitors in the signal path and all parts are of audiophile quality. The Statement was designed and constructed with no cost restraints according to Coincident and is the company's all out assault on the state-of-the-art. Like the company's Statement Phono Preamplifier, the separate power supply has enough capacity and energy storage to power a 100 watt amplifier. There are separate transformers for the high voltage and low filaments. Furthermore, the high and low voltage sections have independent choke and large capacity filtering. Overall frequency response is from 10 Hz to 30 kHz, gain is 20 dB, output impedance is 500 Ohms and output capability is greater than 30 Volts.

 

Kraftwerk Man MachineLegendary techno/electronica band Kraftwerk, in concert with EMI and Mute Records, will soon be reissuing eight remastered LPs. According to the allmusic, "During the mid-'70s, Germany's Kraftwerk established the sonic blueprint followed by an extraordinary number of artists in the decades to come. From the British new romantic movement to hip-hop to techno, the group's self-described "robot pop" -- hypnotically minimal, obliquely rhythmic music performed solely via electronic means -- resonates in virtually every new development to impact the contemporary pop scene of the late-20th century, and as pioneers of the electronic music form, their enduring influence cannot be overstated." The newly offered LPs titles will include new artwork and is scheduled to be released in November 2009. The titles included are Autobahn, Computer World, Man Machine, Radio Activity, Techno Pop, The Mix, Tour De France and Trans Europe Express.

 

10 / 06 / 09

Qsonix Q105 And Q110Qsonix, a California-based market innovator in providing user-friendly digital media technologies, showcased their latest system enhancements for their Q105 and Q110 series music servers at the RMAF 2009. This system includes support for third-party external USB DACs and support for import and playback of high-resolution 24-bit audio. These enhancements open the door for discerning audio listeners to take advantage of the increasing number of mid and high performance USB DACs appearing in the market as well as enjoy the ultimate music experience with high-resolution audio from online sources such as AixRecords.com, HDtracks.com, Itrax.com and LinnRecords.com. The Qsonix allows audiophiles to transition from single disc CD players and CD changers to modern digital hard drive accuracy via music server technology. Qsonix delivers convenience and control and now supports 24-bit/192kHz. USB DAC and hi-resolution media support will be available to both new and existing Qsonix users as part of the soon to be released version 2.6 software upgrade.

 

Brinkmann Audio BARDO Magnetic Drive TurntableGerman manufacturer Brinkmann Audio now offers their BARDO magnetic drive turntable ($7990). After many years of research and development, Helmut Brinkmann constructed the magnetic direct drive turntable Oasis. Since this project was well received by music lovers all over the world, the company decided to release a second model that features the same magnetic direct drive system, though visually more inspired by the design of the company's top-of-the-line models. The BARDO features the magnetic motor drive and platter, an acrylic platter mat, the same spindle and bearing as found in the company's Balance and comes with an outboard power supply. The tonearm base of the BARDO can be rotated and secured without play to allow a simple and precise adjustment for all tonearms between 9 and 10.5 inches. Brinkmann will drill the base to accept the tonearm of the customer's choice. The output sockets found on the back of the turntable can be equipped with either RCA or XLR sockets, and it is also possible to install tonearms with DIN connectors or fixed cables. The BARDO can spin at either 33.3 or 45 rpm as there is an LED indicator, with fine adjustment of speed being ± 10 percent. Wow and flutter is a low 0.07 percent and rumble (noise) is -64 dB. Dimensions are 16.5 x 12.6 x 4(WxDxH in inches) and the entire unit weights in at 32.6 lbs.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
DVD-Audio delayed! That's right, the long awaiting by "audiophiles" DVD-Audio seems to be possibly delayed until the first quarter of 2000. While hardware may be available before the holiday season, three of the five leading recording companies are reported to delay the release of software for the new format until late first quarter 2000.  BMG, EMI, and WEA are said to not be releasing titles this fall while Universal Group Music Group may have a small amount of titles available. Meanwhile Sony had no comment on the matter.

 

Mark Levinson No. 383 integrated amplifierHarman International Industries Mark Levinson brand name is now offering their new No383 integrated amplifier which is priced at $5,995. The unit features dual-mono power supplies, balanced gain stages, software-based operating system that can communicate with other Levinson gear and wireless remote control. Power output is claimed as 100 wpc @ 8 ohms.

 

10 / 05 / 09

Paradigm Reference Signature SUB 1 and SUB 2  Paradigm Electronics, a Canadian speaker designer and manufacturer with over 25 years of experience, just announced their Reference Signature SUB 1 and SUB 2 ($3499 and $7499 respectively) as the flagship models in its growing line of high-performance, smart subwoofers. The SUB 1 and SUB 2 models are more powerful than previous subwoofers offered by the company and are completely unique both in their internal elements and aesthetic qualities. The SUB 1 and SUB 2 cabinets offer virtually no shaking despite moving vast amounts of energy via the drivers and 3000 watt "Kilomax" amplifier platform in 120 Volt version (4500 watt with 208V or 240 Volt line). The SUB 1's six high-excursion, low-distortion 8-inch (10-inch for SUB 2) woofers are arranged in stacked pairs and geometrically aligned so the resultant force vectors, producing up to 7,500 watts of dynamic peak power, cancel each other out. Even a full glass of water placed atop the SUB 1 or SUB 2 will barely ripple. This radial alignment concept is successful because the pressure waves inside the cabinet generated by each driver as the cone and voice coil move in and out are effectively cancelled, leaving a silent and distortion-free cabinet. Another benefit to the new models' woofer design is their compactness. In the SUB 2, six 10-inch drivers move as much air as a pair of 15-inch or a single 21-inch woofer in a smaller, more compact form factor. These units can be used with Paradigm's Perfect Bass Kit (PBK) room correction, thus providing enhanced room and system integration.

 

HiDiamond Ultimate CableHiDiamond, an Italian company that began selling high quality hi-fi cables worldwide in 2000, has added their new Ultimate series of products. The HiDiamond Ultimate signal cable employs gold, silver, grafite, and copper with the company's exclusive 4 VRC (4 times cooked copper). To date no other constructor uses this mixture of metals all in the same cable according to the company. With construction techniques that adhere to military certifications, this allows the isolation and reductions of problems including induced and external noise. HiDiamond's Ultimate cable is made with an 18 mm external jacket, has a total of ten conductors of gold, silver, graphite, copper (4VRC) and has a measured capacitance of 37 Pf/m, resistance of 0.0085 Ohm/1m and shield resistance of 0.01 Ohm/1 m.

 

10 / 02 / 09

RMAF 2009 (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest)  Enjoy the Music.com has just begun our sixth annual RMAF 2009 (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest) show report! Located at the Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel, this show operates from October 2nd through the 4th and each day we will have daily updates accordingly. The RMAF 2009 event continues to grow in popularity with each passing year and this year features over 160 rooms that will represent in total approximately 300 brands of high-end audio. While two-channel high-end audio (audiophile) gear takes center stage, various conferences, seminars and live music entertainment will also be enjoyed by many attendees. To see our RMAF 2009 show report click here.

 

10 / 01 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com's October editions of Superior Audio and the Review Magazine are now available! The month marks our annual Best Of 2009 Blue Note Award and is not to be missed! Once again we deliver World Premiere reviews for your reading pleasure.

Superior Audio
World Premiere!
Acoustic Preference Maestoso 2.0 Speaker
Amazing imaging, top down coherence and stunning cabinetry come together.
Review By Jeff Rabin

North American Premiere!
Kuzma Stogi Reference 313 VTA Tonearm
Low arm noise-floor and dynamic VTA adjustment highlights this tonearm design.
Review By Dick Olsher

Klipsch Palladium P-39F Speaker
New Klipsch flagship puts horns on top.
Review By A. Colin Flood

Exclusive!
Building A Reference System
A Reviewer's Four-Year Odyssey Part 2 of 3
Review By Wayne Donnelly

Audiomat Prelude Reference 20 Integrated Amp.
Ting and bang with class.
Review By Neil Walker

Crystal Cables
The power and the glory!
Review By Phil Gold

See the October / November 2009 edition of Superior Audio by clicking here.


Review Magazine
Daily News: Audiophile news updated each weekday! 

Viewpoint
In This Issue....
Blue Note Awards And An Amazing New Record Album!
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 120
Summation Of 30 Years Of Experience In High-End Audio
Article By Dr. Bill Gaw 

Equipment Reviews
Best Audiophile Equipment Of The Year Awards 2009
As Chosen By The Enjoy the Music.com Staff

conrad-johnson TEA2 Phono Preamplifier
A tonal beauty for classical and jazz, yet can rock 'n' roll too!
Review By Tom Lyle

New Adventures In High Efficiency
My Lowther Journey With a rant or two sprinkled in for good measure.
Article By Scott Faller

World Premiere!
Renaissance Audio Group MLP-501 Loudspeakers
A three way floor standing loudspeaker that rocks at only $1245.
Review By Anthony Nicosia

World Premiere!
Yamamoto YC-03s Low Output Moving Coil Cartridge
The Perfect Balance
Review By Scott Faller

 

Music Reviews
Classical Music

Best Audiophile Music Of The Year Awards 2009
As Chosen By The Enjoy the Music.com Staff

Lyrical performances of the Brahms Violin and Double Concertos from Repin and Chailly. Review By Max Westler

From Telarc, an idiosyncratic, great-sounding organ program from Cameron Carpenter Review By Joe Milicia

Jazz, Folk, Bluegrass, Blues, Etc.
Doyle Lawson And Quicksilver Lonely Street
Review By Steven Stone

Lost And Found Love, Lost and Found
Review By Steven Stone

Catherine MacLellan Water In The Ground
Review By Steven Stone

Pat Metheny With Christian McBride And Antonio Sanchez Day
Trip And Tokyo Day Trip Live On Vinyl!
Review By Scott Faller

Todd Snider The Excitement Plan
Review By Steven Stone

Various Bluegrass, Blues And Jazz Albums
Reviews By Steven Stone

See the October 2009 edition of our Review Magazine by clicking here.


 

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